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Box office preview: 'Thor'

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Thor Portman
Zade Rosenthal

Although this year’s box office still trails 2010 by 16 percent, Fast Five‘s monster $86.2 million debut last weekend was definitely a step in the right direction. Thor will attempt to continue the momentum, and while the Marvel superhero flick will likely fall short of Fast Five‘s opening, it should still post a large enough number to officially launch the summer movie season. The frame’s two other new releases, the wedding comedies Something Borrowed and Jumping the Broom, will fight over the female moviegoers not tempted by Thor’s mighty hammer. Both films may receive a little boost on Sunday, which happens to be Mother’s Day — you haven’t forgotten, right? Here are my predictions for the top five:

1. Thor: $69 million

There’s no denying that the god of thunder is one of Marvel’s less recognizable superheroes, but that didn’t stop the original Iron Man from grossing $98.6 million its first weekend in 2008. However, unlike Iron Man‘s Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth is hardly a household name. Furthermore, when Iron Man debuted, its most prominent competition was the minor romantic comedy Made of Honor. But Thor has to contend with another huge PG-13 action film in Fast Five, which has already tallied $103.2 million in just six days. Luckily, Thor‘s reviews have been encouraging for the most part, and the $150 million movie will benefit from the price hikes at 2,737 3-D theaters and 214 IMAX locations.

2. Fast Five: $38 million

The fourth film in the street-racing franchise, 2009’s Fast & Furious, fell 62 percent its second weekend. But Fast Five earned much stronger reviews and is sporting an overall “A” grade from CinemaScore audiences. So I’m thinking a 55 percent decline instead, which would push the film’s two-week domestic total past $146 million.

3. Something Borrowed: $12.5 million

Third place is a tossup between Something Borrowed and Jumping the Broom, but I’m giving a very slight edge to the former, if only because it’s opening in 869 more theaters. This PG-13 romantic comedy finds Ginnifer Goodwin falling in love with Colin Egglesfield, who’s engaged to Kate Hudson. Drama, like, ensues. Reviews have been underwhelming, but with Mother’s Day on Sunday and not much else playing for female moviegoers, the $35 million movie could wind up with an opening in the mid-teens. I’m playing it safe, though, and sticking with a figure in the tweens.

4. Jumping the Broom: $12 million

The PG-13 comedy, which features a predominantly African-American cast, revolves around a Martha’s Vineyard wedding and the convergence of two groups: the wealthy family of the bride (Paula Patton) and the working-class kin of the groom (Laz Alonso). Also starring Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Mike Epps, and Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen, Jumping the Broom is receiving decent reviews and could attract a significant portion of the audience that showed up for Madea’s Big Happy Family two weeks ago. And like Something Borrowed, the $7 million film should also look forward to a Mother’s Day bump.

5. Rio: $9 million

Many boys, with Lightning Hammers in hand, will be lured away by Thor, but the G-rated Rio should remain the movie of choice for those with very young children. Expect a drop of around 40 percent.

Also debuting in 22 theaters is the Jodie Foster-directed dramedy The Beaver, starring Mel Gibson (yes, that Mel Gibson) as a middle-aged guy who starts using a beaver hand-puppet to communicate with the world.